THE first female leader of Blackburn Music Society has a showpiece date for her official debut.

Abi Kitching is taking the helm at the choir, which rehearses at St Mary’s College, just in time for Blackburn Remembers, a landmark commemoration of the end of the First World War.

The Manchester University graduate will take the 86-year-old collective’s through Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, at the November 10 Blackburn Cathedral event.

Joy Fielding, society chairman, said: “It is hard to imagine a more fitting, respectful yet ultimately life-affirming way of bringing to a close our area’s five-year commemoration of the First World War.”

Blackburn Remembers also features Sibelius’s Finlandia and a wartime songs medley, featuring Blackburn and Darwen Band and Salesbury School Chamber Choir. Tickets for the cathedral performance, from 7pm, will cost £12 in advance and £14 on the door.

Meanwhile an East Lancs opera star is marshalling the voices behind another centenary concert.

Bacup-born Sean Ruane will be responsible for making the Lancashire Remembers event, also on November 10, a resounding success.

Four hundred singers are set to unite at Preston Guild Hall, with the the support of the East Lancashire Concert Band, the 2nd Rossendale Scout Band and Accrington Pipe Band.

Sean, who has performed at Wembley, Old Trafford and Lords with his outfit, Chant Productions, said: “Singers may already be part of a choir or simply be individuals interested in hitting the high notes – we’d love everyone to be involved.”

Workshops will be taking place at Valley Street Community Centre in Burnley on October 22, from 4pm, and Plungington Road Community Centre in Preston on October 19 and 26, from 6.30pm.